1990/1991 NBA Hoops Trading Cards

Somewhere in 1990, I really started getting into trading cards. Baseball cards mostly, and some non-sports cards that I thought were cool. In the fall of that year, I spotted packs of 1990/1991 NBA Hoops cards and they would be my first foray into the world of basketball cards. I saw them at my local grocery store one day and bought a few packs. I really didn’t know what to expect. I just knew that some other kids at school were trading basketball cards and these were basketball cards. I found that I loved them. The silver border was cool. I knew some of the players, there were rookie cards and all-star cards to try and find, and my friends at school now wanted to include me in their trading. All was well in my world when it came to basketball cards.

The next time we went to the store, I spent my whole allowance on packs of these. When we got to the car, my mom threw a fit about me using all of my money on cards. She gave me a lecture on how cards aren’t worth what people think they are. In her words, “If they were worth anything, they wouldn’t put them in those packs. They’d just sell them for what they’re worth.” She clearly didn’t understand how the secondary market worked. And she didn’t understand that having these cards got me into a somewhat exclusive group at school. To me, that made these cards worth spending a whole week’s allowance on.

I still dabble in trading cards from time to time, and when I’m on that kick, I’m always on the lookout for unopened packs of these. It’s not with the hope of finding anything valuable in them because that’s not really a possibility. It’s just that opening an unsealed pack of these takes me back to my middle school days for just a little while, and that’s a high you can’t buy.

Suddenly S’Mores

Suddenly S'mores

Nabisco unleashed Suddenly S’Mores on the world in 1990, and I was in on them early on. I had seen the commercial numerous times and was on the lookout for them at the grocery store every time we went. Growing up in our rural area, we were always behind other parts of the country when it came to the timeliness of receiving new junk food on the shelves.

So after a while, we finally got them in our area, and I was elated. I remember when we first opened them. They were such a novelty at the time, that the whole family wanted to try them, so there we were, all four of us gathered around the microwave to watch the magic. That’s because the gimmick of Suddenly S’Mores was that it was an uncooked s’more basically. There were the two “graham crackers”…really just two graham-flavored cookies, chocolate on each one of them, and some kind of dehydrated marshmallow sandwiched in the middle. You had to microwave them and then you’d have fresh, warm, gooey s’mores.

Back then, microwave doors were a little harder to see through than they are now, and my mom was a big proponent of how a microwave would destroy your eyes if you looked into it while it was cooking, so she was trying her best to keep my dad, my brother, and me away from the door. All of this took place in like 15 seconds because that’s about all the time they needed to do their thing.

Clipping courtesy of the Sun Herald June 06, 1990

When the first one was ready, I got the honor of trying it. At the same time, my brother was putting one in to try. That first package we had didn’t make it through the first night. We liked them so much, we ate the whole thing!

Of course, Mom was much more willing to part with the money they cost on the next visit since Dad asked her to get more. Our enthusiasm waned a little and the second pack lasted two nights. Things went on like this a couple of more times before the novelty really wore off for everyone in the family but me. I loved those things and was enjoying them on a regular basis.

Then one afternoon I was too lazy to microwave them and just opened a pack and ate one. I found that they were just as delicious as the microwaved version but in a different way. It’s hard to explain, but I really liked them straight from the package. I started taking them to school in my lunch as my dessert and soon found another redeeming quality about them…they were incredible trade bait at lunchtime. Since they came two in a pack (I think), I was able to enjoy one and trade the other for things like a pack of Shark Bite fruit snacks, half of a fruit roll-up, or any number of other tasty treats.

It’s hard to dig up much information about how long these lasted on the market, but I don’t think they made it past 1990. It was a heartbreaker when I finally accepted the truth that they were gone and wouldn’t be coming back. It’s still one of the junk foods I miss the most all these years later.

Captain America: The Movie (1990)

I’m hard-pressed to think of anything more patriotic than the iconic Marvel Comics character, Captain America. These days, the Chris Evans incarnation in the MCU is all the rage, but once upon a time, there was another movie version of the red, white, and blue hero.

The film was originally intended for theatrical release in August 1990 to coincide with the character’s 50th anniversary, but due to numerous delays, it ended up being released two years later in the summer of 1992 as a direct-to-video offering. It also started airing on cable television in the summer of 1992, which is where I first saw it on HBO. Being the comic book fan that I was at the time, I recorded my own version on home video.

This version of Captain America has largely been forgotten, if ever known about in the first place, but it’s still packed full of campy fun that you might enjoy. So here it is in all of its original 1990s glory for this Independence Day.

Wrestling in 1993

Recently, Jeff and I along with the help of Jason recorded and published a new episode of the Gnarly 90s podcast with a look at the year 1993. We touched on all the major news events, sports stories, television and movies, and the new technology that debuted in 1993. One subject we didn’t touch on was the events in pro wrestling in 1993.

1993 has long been shunned by pro wrestling fans as a “down” year. While it’s true that attendance and ratings were down that year, and a lot of hokiness ensued that year, I really enjoyed it. Back then, I was just as glued to the weekly shows as I was in 1986 or 1989, two very fondly remembered years in wrestling.

In the WWF, while they were in a rebuilding era where talent was concerned, 1993 saw the launch of Monday Night Raw. The first half of the year featured the show coming from the Manhattan Center in NYC and provided a unique experience for a wrestling fan. One that few have been able to capture since. It was an intimate setting with a very enthusiastic crowd and combined with the focus on putting forth top matches, it resulted in a tremendously fun show to watch every week.

Who can forget the angle where Money Inc. smashed Brutus Beefcake with a briefcase that lured Hulk Hogan back into action on behalf of this friend, or the night that the 1-2-3 Kid scored the amazing upset victor over Razor Ramon? The environment was perfect for wrestling even if it wasn’t at the heights Vince McMahon wanted it to be at.

Over in WCW, they too were in a bit of a rebuilding era with their talent, bringing in and promoting new, young acts for the fans. Their WCW Saturday Night show also had a great feel to it as it emanated from the re-vamped Center Stage Theater in Atlanta. The small crowd was on top of the action, which was pretty good. Along with what ended up being great action on their PPV events, and the every-couple-of-months Clash of the Champions TBS specials, WCW was a lot of fun to watch and keep up with on a weekly basis.

1993 was also the year ECW got on television. While Eastern Championship Wrestling wasn’t quite what Extreme Championship Wrestling would be later on, it was still a fun show at a minor league level. It was a place to see some older stars like Terry Funk, Eddie Gilbert, Jimmy Snuka, and others, while at the same time building the foundation of stars that would define ECW for the rest of its tenure like Tommy Dreamer, The Sandman, Taz, Sabu, and Public Enemy.

And possibly my favorite wrestling promotion of 1993, Smoky Mountain Wrestling enjoyed the most entertaining year of its short existence. SMW was hitting on all cylinders in 1993 with The Rock & Roll Express enjoying a tremendous revival and feuding with longtime nemesis Jim Cornette and his tag team of The Heavenly Bodies. We even got to see Bobby Eaton join the mix with the Bodies against the R&Rs who were joined by Arn Anderson. Ron Wright as the elderly manager of The Dirty White Boy was a great act and a highlight of the weekly TV shows. But SMW also brought great action in the year all year long, maybe capped off by their Bluegrass Brawl event in the spring. It had a great old-school territory-type vibe to the promotion that made it different, yet complimented the other major offerings in the wrestling world that year.

All in all, even though most fans look down on 1993, I put it in the Top 5 wrestling eras of my lifetime. And the best part is, thanks to modern technology, you can re-experience it all today. With the WWE Network offering every episode of Raw from that year as well as their PPVs, all of the WCW Saturday Night episodes, the PPV events, and the Clash of the Champions are all available as well. And under their ECW banner, you can watch all the episodes of their TV from that year as well. You have to turn over to YouTube to watch SMW, but every episode of their TV is there too. So in theory, you can go back and relive all of 1993 today. As a matter of fact, I believe I’ll do just that.

Rollergames in HD

I’ve talked about my fandom of Rollergames in the past. I talked about it when I covered the Rollergames Nintendo game comic book ad, and again not that long ago when I posted the Rollergames Yearbooks as a Time Capsule. But for those of you who don’t know, Rollergames was a syndicated “sports” show that debuted in September of 1989. It was a version of roller derby played on a figure-8 track. In addition to the game itself, episodes also featured “live” rock music performances. This version of roller derby also featured a pit that housed alligators that would be used during “sudden death” overtime periods in tied games. This version of roller derby was obviously heavily influenced by the theatrics of the World Wrestling Federation.

Recently, the original episodes of Rollergames have been remasted in HD and released on YouTube. If you never saw the show in its heyday, check out the good-looking video of the very first episode, and see why I was such a big fan of it. Maybe you’ll become a fan too.